Burkina Faso vows major security changes after deadly attack

OUAGADOUGOU— Burkina Faso said that it would overhaul its security forces to cope with a six-year militant insurgency that has claimed more than 1,400 lives and forced 1.3 million people from their homes.

The government will “review the structural and operational organisation of the national defence and security forces,” junior defence minister General Aime Barthelemy Simpore announced at a press conference in the capital Ouagadougou.

“Major reforms” will take place “to reorganise and adapt” forces to take into account threats from terrorism, he said, adding that the overhaul would take place under “the guidance” of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who is also defence minister.

“The immediate step will be to work to protect the public and property,” especially helping the country’s internally displaced population, he said.

Simpore said the changes would focus on information systems, logistics and “living conditions” for the armed forces, but did not give details.

One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso is struggling with an insurgency that swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015.

Its armed forces are poorly trained and equipped against highly mobile jihadist units linked to Al-Qaeda and the Daesh group.

The groups are adept at ambushing highway convoys, planting roadside bombs and carrying hit-and-run raids on remote villages.